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Montreal Canadiens Sign Luke Richardson to Contract Extension
Luke Richardson became somewhat of a household name during this year’s Stanley Cup Playoff run with the Montreal Canadiens. He served as Head Coach for five games while Dominique Ducharme was quarantined with COVID-19.
Montreal didn’t miss a beat while Richardson was at the helm, guiding the team to three wins to beat the Vegas Golden Knights in the semifinals. He was also Head Coach for the first two games of the Stanley Cup Finals before Ducharme returned for Game 3.
Richardson began his coaching career in 2008 as an assistant with the Ottawa Senators. From there, he served as the Head Coach of their farm team in Binghamton. He amassed a 153-120-31 record in 304 AHL regular-season games from 2012 to 2016. Richardson joined the New York Islanders for a season in 2017, then landed in Montreal in 2018.
This all followed a 21-year, 1417-game career as an NHL defenseman. He played for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers, Philadelphia Flyers, Columbus Blue Jackets, Tampa Bay Lightning and Ottawa Senators.
What This Means for the Canadiens
This was the second signing General Manager Marc Bergevin has made behind the Canadiens bench this offseason, removing the interim tag off Ducharme the previous day. It’s clear that Bergevin – whose own contract is up at the end of next season – is trying to solidify whatever pieces he can make another deep Stanley Cup run.
To do that, some depth spots will have to be filled in Montreal’s bottom six. Phillip Danault, Corey Perry, Joel Armia, Eric Staal and Tomas Tatar are all unrestricted free agents. Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Artturi Lehkonen will be restricted free agents. Additionally, Bergevin will have to figure out who to protect in the Expansion Draft, with the team having more valuable pieces than it does protected spots available.
Needless to say, the Montreal Canadiens will look different next year. Richardson’s signing is a means for Bergevin to control what he can before things get hectic in the short offseason. The hope is likely to maintain the same coaching magic to lead another group to a deep playoff run.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images